Background: Headache is one of the most disturbing complaints worldwide, negatively impacting social and regular life activities. In the background of stressful life in medical schools, adding to the stressful situation in Palestine, a developing country under occupation, this study investigated the prevalence and clinical characteristics of migraines and tension-type headaches among medical students from the Palestinian Universities in West Bank and Gaza.
Methods: A questionnaire-based cross-sectional study was conducted on all Palestinian Medical Students. Students were diagnosed based on ICHD-3 criteria. Demographic characteristics were compared by gender for each type of headache. Frequency, percentage, and mean ± SD. Pearson's chi-squared test, independent t-test, and one-way ANOVA were used where needed. P-value < 0.05 was considered significant.
Results: The study included 806 medical students; 476 (59.0%) of them were female. TTH and migraine's prevalence was 59.8 and 22%, respectively, with a higher prevalence among basic year students. The female to male ratio was 1:0.6 for both types of headaches. Sleep deprivation, physical activities, and altered sleep patterns were reported as the top triggering factors.
Conclusions: The results demonstrate that the prevalence of both subtypes' primary headache is high among Palestinian medical students, with a higher prevalence among basic year students. The study also showed that these findings are higher than other studies among medical students in other countries.